Continuing on my theme of commemorating the truly important events in baseball's history (unless I don't have enough time to write something up or I've got something actually interesting)...
Today is the 11th anniversary of the longest nine-inning 1-0 game by time. In a getaway day game at County Stadium, the Athletics and Brewers spent 200 minutes playing a 1-0 game that ended with the potential tying run thrown out at the plate to end the game and Oakland manager Art Howe along with Scott Brosius getting ejected from the game after it was over.
The game got underway at 1:06 pm with Jeff D'Amico, anothermuch of his career on the DL, was the starter for manager Phil Garner's Brewers. D'Amico was 0-2 with an ERA of 6.52 in his first four starts.
Steve Karsay was starting for Oakland. Karsay had come back to the majors after missing most of the three previous seasons due to injuries. Karsay had been pitching fairly well in the early going (4.00 ERA), but was still 0-3.
The game got off to a fast start as D'Amico struck out the side to start the game. Brewers leadoff man Jeromy Burnitz (yes, Jeromy Burnitz) led off with a walk and stole second, but was erased at third on a fielder's choice after Jeff Cirillo's grounder was snared by Karsay. John Jaha would later walk in the inning, but the Brewers left two.
The Brewers threatened to score in the fourth when they had runners at first and third with no outs and the bases loaded with one out. But Gerald Williams hit into a double play to end the inning.
Each starting pitcher went six innings and didn't give up any runs, but they both threw a lot of pitches. D'Amico threw 106 in six innings and Karsay stuck around for 120.
In the seventh, Mike Fetters came in to relieve for Milwaukee and walked the first batter he faced, Brosius, but the A's couldn't get him past second. In the bottom of the seventh, Steve Montgomery replaced Karsay and got the first two Brewers out before walking Burnitz, who in turn stole second. Cirillo then singled to left and Burnitz just beat the throw home from Jose Canseco.
The Brewers loaded the bases again in the eighth, but a trio of Oakland pitchers, Aaron Small, Buddy Groom, and Don Wengert, got out of the jam with no runs scoring. That brought us to the tumultuous ninth.
Garner brought in Doug Jones to try to close out the win. Scott Spiezio got a one-out single and was replaced on the bases by Brosius after a forceout. Dave Magadan pinch hit for catcher George Williams and walked and pitcher Mike Mohler ran for Magadan.
Howe then called on Matt Stairs to pinch hit for his shortstop Tony Batista. Stairs lined a ball into right for a single. Burnitz got to it and fired it to the plate where it appeared to just about everybody that Brosius had gotten in under the tag of Jesse Levis.
Except for home plate umpire Dale Ford, who called Brosius out and drawing the wrath of Brosius and Howe.
From Steve Kettmann's story in the San Francisco Chronicle the day after:
Everyone in baseball has heard stories about umpires making dubious callsbecause they had a flight to catch or dinner reservations or maybe a game show to watch on TV. The A's saw it happen yesterday, or at least they believed they did.
Home-plate umpire Dale Ford called Scott Brosius out on a close play at the plate with two outs in the ninth -- and the game already stretched out to a record-setting 3 hours, 20 minutes. If Brosius had scored from second on pinch-hitter Matt Stairs' single to right, it would have been a tie game. Instead, it was a 1-0 Brewers win.
"I don't know how you miss that call," A's manager Art Howe said. "He blew the call. It was a chance to get out of there. The guy beat the play, and he missed the call and it cost us the damn game."
Ford ejected Brosius and then he ejected Howe. He said he thought Brosius never touched home plate as he slid to the right of the plate to avoid catcher Jesse Levis. Jeromy Burnitz made a strong throw from right field.
"He slid by and tried to touch the plate as he went by," Ford said. "He started jumping around before I even called him out. He knew he was out."
Brosius was worn out by the time he heard that that's what Ford had said. Otherwise, he might have jumped around and yelled some more, the way he did to earn a rare postgame ejection.
"That's not even true," he said. "I came up and said `Safe' because I was excited about tying the game. I never said anything about the call until I heard him. There's no question I hit the plate with my hand. I haven't seen the replay yet, but I'll bet my salary I was safe."
Added third-base coach Ron Washington: "He really blew that call. Right now we're in the clubhouse and Levis still has not tagged out Brosius. Dale blew the call because he had somewhere to go."
The A's sent 38 batters to the plate without scoring. Milwaukee sent up 36 in just eight turns. Oakland pitchers threw 183 pitches in just eight innings. Milwaukee pitchers tossed up a mere 158.
Holding a team to just one run was an accomplishment for the A's pitchers in 1997. Oakland tried 26 different pitchers and the staff ERA was dead last in AL at 5.49. Small led the staff in wins with 9. The A's had one shutout, a four pitcher win over the Yankees on April 6. The shutout win for the Brewers on May 7 was one of eight for Milwaukee in 1997. The Brewers had a team ERA of 4.42, fourth best in the AL.